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Allen University Honors Mother Emanuel AME Church Victims

$10 Million construction project will honor victims and teach civility.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — There are few people in Columbia who understand the history of the Good Samaritan Waverly Hospital more than Jean Hopkins.  

Hopkins is 88 years old. 

She began working at Good Samaritan Hospital when she was 26 and was there until the doors closed in 1973.  

During the height of the Civil Rights movement, Good Samaritan was constructed by African Americans for the communities and patients that often faced discrimination when trying to go to other healthcare facilities.  During that time, Hopkins says it wasn't easy for a black nurse to find a job.  

As one of the charge nurses she remembers fondly that "Even though Waverly Good Samaritan was a small hospital they offered good care."

According to the South Carolina Department of Archives, "The hospital was the only training facility exclusively for black nurses in Columbia, and was built as a state-of-the-art medical facility. The new facility had a pharmacy, laboratory, X-ray room, staff dining room, two operating rooms, and fifty beds." The hospital saw patients that often could not pay and because of mounting debt and In August of 1973, Good Samaritan-Waverly Hospital was forced to close its doors. Allen University purchased the property in 1987.  

Since that time, there have been a number of proposals for the property. 

 Allen University President Dr. Ernest McNealy believes that within the next 18 months this $10 million project will breathe life back into this building.

Part of the new construction would include an annex named in honor of Allen University graduate and state Senator Clementa Pinckney.  

Pinckney was the pastor of Mother Emanuel AME Church and one of the victims of the June 2015 massacre. Sketches show a memorial to the nine victims in the lobby of the school's new Institute of Civility.  The environmental justice program, its seminary program and a new medical program will be academic programs housed in the renovated hospital.

Dr. McNealy says, "I think it's always our duty to honor the past while building a more excellent future."

Allen University is reaching out to the community in hopes of acquiring photos of babies born at Good Samaritan Waverly Hospital.

If you were born at the hospital you can email photos to aumarketing@allenuniversity.edu

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